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Old 15-01-2013, 23:23   #16
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

I live in Alaska as well.

Being a powerboater might give me a different perspective.

When its foggy its generally pretty calm. those are great traveling days. Traveling days you'll miss if you're stuck waiting for the fog to clear.
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Old 16-01-2013, 10:36   #17
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

When you hear the thrumming of that ferry moving at 20 knots in thick fog and you dont know where he is..... you'll wish for radar! Or when you're trying to find that hole in the wall anchorage in a landscape of trees and rocks, the swells pushing you toward shore, hoping your GPS is exactly correct.... You'll wish for Radar!
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Old 16-01-2013, 10:46   #18
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

If you get radar, the most important thing is to practice before you use it in the fog. Trying to hand steer in low visibility while watching the radar can be disorienting until you get the hang of it.

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Old 16-01-2013, 11:04   #19
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

Sailed for 3 years in the San Juan's without one, now have sailed one year in the Pacific with one. I wouldn't go out in anything but ideal conditions without one. I have the digital Simrad and feel it's worth every penny. Last time I was out in thick fog there was a sailboat who had "lost all electricity" and was transmitting by handheld VHF. 25 miles off the coast and in the dark/fog without lights and heading right for me! The radar prevented a huge problem that day.
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Old 16-01-2013, 13:36   #20
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

I'm hearing two perspectives and I think they come from different expectations and levels of risk acceptance. But I do hear a common thread that is... DON'T TRAVEL IN THE FOG!... Having exited san juan channel into Haro Strait last summer in pea soup I now feel much luckier than I felt at the time. The narrow channel with a current window was a really dumb thing to tackle in 100 foot vis. And considering my gung ho nature I'd better plan on getting radar cause sure enough i'll push the envelope and go when it's iffy and then get smacked. Thanks for the input.
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Old 16-01-2013, 14:13   #21
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

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I'm hearing two perspectives and I think they come from different expectations and levels of risk acceptance. But I do hear a common thread that is... DON'T TRAVEL IN THE FOG!...
Hi SP,

One thing I was trying to say is that if you're doing the inside passage up through BC and SE AK, especially in Fogust, there will be times you won't be able to make the choice not to travel in the fog - you can be out there some hours from the nearest low-visibility-enterable anchorage when it sets in.

BTW, to give you good descriptions and guidance on most of the anchorages, you might want to have the Douglass Exploring Series cruising guides, especially for the BC north coast and SE Alaska. Also, we've traveled maybe 30,000 nm along that coast, and have evolved a handy list of anchorages that work for us - I could email a copy if you like.
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Old 16-01-2013, 19:41   #22
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My healthy Furuno1623 cost me $300. Pretty painless even for a broke-ass most of the time sailor like myself and worth every penny especially going in and out of LA harbor.
I'm with the yes, get one crowd here, especially for those waters.
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Old 17-01-2013, 15:10   #23
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

If the fog is thick enough, you can tie a tow line to the ferry and just follow along, they'll never notice you are tailgating.

I think an AIS transceiver would be a higher priority, more bang for the buck. Nice if you have the budget for both.
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Old 17-01-2013, 16:35   #24
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

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I think an AIS transceiver would be a higher priority, more bang for the buck. Nice if you have the budget for both.
That are not that many vessels required to use AIS in that area. Tugs and fishing boats might not have them.
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Old 17-01-2013, 16:52   #25
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

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That are not that many vessels required to use AIS in that area. Tugs and fishing boats might not have them.
Exactly! Many small and even not so small vessels may not have AIS. The only ones you see on screen are those that do.
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Old 17-01-2013, 16:55   #26
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

If I had to make a forced choice among chartplotters, radar and AIS I would choice radar.
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Old 18-01-2013, 10:06   #27
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

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If I had to make a forced choice among chartplotters, radar and AIS I would choice radar.

Yeah very useful for tracking everything fom thundersqualls, to water spouts, to blind harbor entrys....
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Old 18-01-2013, 10:13   #28
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

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If I had to make a forced choice among chartplotters, radar and AIS I would choice radar.
+2. Fog happens.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:01   #29
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

I'm back from the trip. Left May 6 and got back Aug 20. Sailed up to the grand Pacific Glacier and back 2896 nm. Did not get radar. managed to avoid needing it mostly. Wish I had AIS. I rolled the dice and crossed Queen charolette strait in the fog. I had 2 other sailboats with Radar who were fairly close and were watching out for me and looking for targets that might be a problem. All in all I would do it again. but I would not go outside without radar. I wanted to go on the outside on this trip but continual fog reports kept me from venturing out. Also I was racing South to get out of the fog zone starting July 1. I crossed QC strait about Aug 1.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:21   #30
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Re: Radar important for inside passage to Alaska?

Spent a number of years towing logs and barges as well as commercial fishing and beachcombing from desolation Sound to Alaska inside and outside 12 months a year. I would never head into those waters without a minimum radar. Even when money was thin, we always found enough to keep our radar in good shape and running well. In those days, they did require some maintenance, particularly the open array.
Long before the days of plotters, GPS, AIS and even loran. Radar, which was invented and came into use during WWII, it became very popular as a nav aid in the 50's and 60's on the west coast.
Even on my old beachcomber, a 35 foot steel boomboat with a small grey marine diesel, I had a radar... saved my ass more than once. Cheers, Phil
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